Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Important Second Amendment Case Reheard by Federal Appellate Court

Friday, May 13, 2016

Important Second Amendment Case Reheard by Federal Appellate Court

On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reheard the NRA-supported case Kolbe v. Hogan, which challenges Maryland’s bans on various popular semi-automatic rifles and detachable magazines.  In early February, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit vacated a lower court ruling that upheld the bans, but the court agreed to en banc rehearing before the full fifteen-member court.

John Parker Sweeney, arguing on behalf of Maryland gun owners and firearm businesses, began argument with a very simple explanation for the court.  The Maryland law, like the handgun bans at issue in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, bans the possession of common firearms that are kept for self-defense within the home, so the law must fail under the Supreme Court’s established precedents.  Under a barrage of questions from the court, Sweeney continually pressed home the point that this case is actually much easier than the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller because the firearms at issue in this case represent the most popular rifles in the country, yet they are used in only a very small number of crimes as compared to handguns. 

While it is impossible to guess how the court will rule in this case, the decision will almost certainly hinge on whether the three-judge panel correctly determined that “strict scrutiny” was the appropriate standard of review.  When courts review constitutional questions of law, they do so under differing standards.  Strict scrutiny is generally applied only where a statute creates a substantial burden on a fundamental right.  The decision to apply strict scrutiny is often seen as fatal to the challenged statute and it would almost certainly be in this case.  The bans in this case, like most gun-control laws, cannot be justified as effective public safety measures under close scrutiny by the judiciary. 

The need for strict scrutiny in cases impacting the right to keep and bear arms is the reason that NRA has led the effort to amend state right to arms provisions to clearly require the application of strict scrutiny.  This effort has already led to constitutional amendments in Alabama, Louisiana, and Missouri and an NRA-supported resolution for a strict scrutiny amendment is currently moving through the Oklahoma legislature.  

While it may seem to many gun owners that these amendments should be superfluous because the right to keep and bear arms is clearly a fundamental constitutional right and therefore deserving of strict scrutiny, several post-Heller courts have applied lower level scrutiny to laws that burden the Second Amendment.  In the Kolbe case, the panel majority’s decision to apply strict scrutiny represents an extremely important step for gun rights litigation because it ensures that the Second Amendment is given the same protection as other fundamental constitutional rights.  It may be several months before the court issues its en banc decision, but you can be sure that your NRA-ILA will keep you apprised of any further developments in this important case.

BY NRA-ILA Staff

TRENDING NOW
“[A]ll We Need You to Do is Give us the Gun”: U.K. Launches National Firearm Surrender Campaign

News  

Monday, May 23, 2022

“[A]ll We Need You to Do is Give us the Gun”: U.K. Launches National Firearm Surrender Campaign

On March 12, a two-week campaign was launched in the United Kingdom to encourage subjects of Her Majesty the Queen to surrender firearms, ammunition, weapons, and any other object even vaguely reminiscent of a gun ...

President Donald J. Trump to Address NRA Members at the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas

News  

Thursday, May 12, 2022

President Donald J. Trump to Address NRA Members at the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas

Former President Donald J. Trump will headline the 2022 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on May 27, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

Choke Point “Lite”

News  

Monday, May 23, 2022

Choke Point “Lite”

Ten years ago, the Obama Administration introduced “Operation Choke Point,” a program to weaponize the banking industry and financial service providers against certain lawful businesses and merchants. Implemented by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and ...

ATF Partners with Anti-gun Researchers to Expand Agency’s Power

News  

Monday, May 23, 2022

ATF Partners with Anti-gun Researchers to Expand Agency’s Power

On May 17, the Department of Justice announced the release of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives publication titled the National Firearms in Commerce and Trafficking Assessment (NFCTA). The report is the result of the ...

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

News  

Friday, April 1, 2022

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

Half the country will now enjoy the freedom to carry a handgun for self-defense without a permit from the state thanks to the tireless efforts of men and women of the National Rifle Association. 

NRA Statement Ahead of 2022 NRAAM

News  

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

NRA Statement Ahead of 2022 NRAAM

The National Rifle Association released the following statement on Wednesday, May 25

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

New Jersey: “Mandatory Jail” Bill Scheduled for Senate Hearing Thursday

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

New Jersey: “Mandatory Jail” Bill Scheduled for Senate Hearing Thursday

Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee is scheduled to consider S.513, legislation which would create a rebuttable presumption of no bail for gun offenses.

Hunter Biden Incident Shows that Gun Laws are for the Little People

News  

Monday, April 5, 2021

Hunter Biden Incident Shows that Gun Laws are for the Little People

There is a central hypocrisy at the heart of the gun control effort.

California: Anti-Gun Bills Eligible for Floor Votes

Saturday, May 21, 2022

California: Anti-Gun Bills Eligible for Floor Votes

On Thursday, both the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees took up their suspense files prior to the fiscal deadline, passing a number of anti-gun bills and one pro-hunting bill. These bills will now be eligible ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.